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The Golden Buddha awards are back, baby! Join us as we bestow accolades of golden praise to the best games that came out in 2016. Virtual reality, 4k resolution, HDR capabilities, and some incredibly anticipated (and completely unexpected) high quality game releases were placed in our hands this year, making the transition into 2017 all the more exciting. The Entertainment Buddha staff encountered some incredibly memorable gaming experiences this year, and the results provide a retrospective silver lining to a year full of equally memorable losses.

We need good games now more than ever. Here’s our list for 2016:

Best Third-Person Shooter

Gears of War 4

With a new cast of heroes, Gears of War 4 proves itself as a fantastic stand alone experience. There’s enough fan service strewn throughout the game to appease long-time fans, and it’s one of the most outstandingly beautiful games we’ve seen this year. No discrepancy with the game is big enough to detract from its enjoyment factor. Whether this is your first or fourth time jumping into the Gears universe, our very own Matt Heywood recommends that you play it. Right now.

Read our review here.

Best Fighting/Sports Game

Street Fighter V

2016 hasn’t been kind to the fighting genre, but there’s a timelessness associated with the Street Fighter series. Street Fighter V scratches that nostalgic itch while simultaneously introducing a few fresh faces to the roster, and it’s nice to see events such as the Capcom Pro Tour that increases the prevalence of the ever-growing e-sports scene. Between Ryu’s inclusion as a Super Smash Bros. character and Akuma’s anticipated role in 2017’s Tekken 7, Street Fighter V has never been more on our minds here at EB.

Best Racing Game

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 is one of the first games showed off the Xbox One S’s 4k HDR capabilities. We even published an entire feature purely dedicated to just how jaw-dropping of an experience this game can provide with the right equipment. While PC elites may scoff at the acclaim it received for its visuals, it’s an incredibly solid game as whole. You really have to dig to find a legitimate complaint about the open-world racer, and even then they pale in comparison to the game’s ability to captivate.

Read our review here.

Best Handheld Game

Pokemon Sun and Moon

Nintendo’s had an incredibly odd year altogether, but Pokemon as a whole has won over the hearts of an unfathomable amount of people. With Pokemon GO‘s temporarily life-changing release earlier this Summer, the hype train for Pokemon Sun and Moon picked up a huge amount of steam. New Alolan versions of older pokemon rejuvenated some debatably dated designs, the removal of HMs, and so much more was introduced here. Pokemon Sun and Moon together act as the series’ biggest (and most welcome) overhaul to date.

Tags : BioShock: The CollectionFirewatchForza Horizon 3Game of the YearGears of War 4Genital JoustingGolden BuddhasHyper Light DrifterOverwatchPokemon GoPokemon MoonPokemon SunStreet Fighter VThe Flame in the FloodTitanfall 2Uncharted 4: A Thiefs EndUntil Dawn: Rush of Blood
Zachery Bennett

The author Zachery Bennett

Zach's eternal preoccupation with video games became cemented at an early age. His first memorable journey away from reality began with a text-based Football game on a dirty Apple II; he's chased fantasy ever since. Having took English classes as electives in college, Zach decided to pull the trigger on a merger between the two obsessions.